MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Where will my kids be going to school and who is going to lead them? Those are just a few of the questions Shelby County parents want answered. It will be up to the Transition Planning Commission to do that.
The commission says it will have the first draft of what the unified district will look like in June. This comes as several suburban towns are seriously looking at the option of creating their own districts.
"Our job, as we see it by law in the Norris Todd bill, is to create a plan to merge these two school districts," said Barbara Prescott, chairwoman of the Transition Planning Commission, even though suburbs like Bartlett want out. "Until we actually know that they are starting and when they're starting then we are very committed in creating a plan that will meet the needs of the suburbs; we want to meet their needs as well as the needs within the city of Memphis."
Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald is also on the commission. He wants the unified district to be the best it can be, but doesn't want Bartlett involved.
'I believe with all my heart we can serve our children locally better than a large system can do it," he said.
TPC member Kenneth T. Whalum, Jr. believes the unified board should be planning things differently.
"Why are you even planning to form 6 districts, 2 of which will be taken from the suburbs when suburbs are not gong to be part of the system?" he asked. "What we're going to ultimately decide is who loses their job and when."
The commission is also looking for a superintendent to run the unified district.
Prescott said, "We do think, from what we have learned, that for the public to know who the leader of this district is going to be is very important."
Whalum disagreed. "That's not a community priority. What is a community priority is educating these children in this midst of this morass of this so-called merger."
It will be up to the Unified School Board and the state Department of Education to approve the new district layout.
The unified Memphis and Shelby County school district is set to open its doors in the fall of 2013.